How Blue Monday sparks conversations about mental health

On today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about that infamous Monday in January, Blue Monday. I will highlight why employers should care about staff wellbeing even more so during this month. 

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When is Blue Monday? 

Mondays can be tough for all of us. It is the day of the week staff are most likely to call in sick. The third Monday in January is called Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

The day when it really dawns on people that the celebrations are truly over, winter has us in its grip, debts from Christmas may be mounting up and the pressure of new year’s resolutions are stifling.

The theory is travel company, Sky Travel, created the term “Blue Monday” in 2005 to get people to book holidays to escape the cold. It is based on a formula/equation believed to be developed by psychologist Cliff Arnall. The equation takes into account weather, level of debt, monthly salary, the time elapsed since Christmas, how long a person has failed to keep their New Year’s resolutions, motivational levels, and need to take action.

However, even if this was initially created as a marketing ploy, I think there is value to it, as January in the Western hemisphere can be a tricky time. 

In today’s show, we talk about:

  • The origin of the term “Blue Monday”. [00:44]
  • A quick win on how workplaces can support staff during this period. [05:23]
  • Not being afraid to check-in with staff. [06:31]
  • How to use 1-2-1s to start the conversation. [07:13]
  • Spotting signs if a staff member’s mental health may decline [08:34]
  • Promoting all the sources of support you have in-house [10:20]

Statistics mentioned in this episode:

  • 12.8 million sick days were recorded in relation to work-related stress, depression or anxiety HSE October 2018.
  • 602,000 workers currently experiencing work-related s, a or d (new or long-standing) 
  • The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Report (2018), states it could cost up to £94 billion to the UK.

Helpful resources for you linked to this episode:


  • It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of workplace well-being and have clearly dedicated my career to it.
  • Let your staff have a duvet day!
  • Make checking-in on how everyone feels an integral part of team meetings prior to getting down to the agenda.
  • Equipping yourself and your line managers to have the conversation about mental wellbeing can be a real game-changer. 
  • Do not be afraid to talk about suicide.

Work with me

Want to do more in your workplace 366 days of this year?

So why not find out more about how I can help you and your workplace wellbeing plans by booking a free 30-minute call with me here:

Find out more about the solutions I offer: 

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If you enjoyed this episode, then consider subscribing on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you access your podcasts from. 

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Remember to tune in to next week’s episode, where I’ll bring you more insights into mental health and inclusion.

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